The One Hundred and Fifth Post: The One Where I Am Taking A Well Deserved Vacation… Yes, Again

I am taking a four day weekend to celebrate the release of this minor game. This blog entry is coming a little late, and for that I apologize. Saturday has been a little hectic today so that Sunday can be my day of rest, since Monday is going to be a big writing day and Tuesday is going to be spend shooting at midgets (in a video game, of course) and Wednesday will be spend wondering why I’m still not shooting at things (maybe in the context of a video game… maybe not…).

Now that the FBI is going to be pouring over this particular blog – my mind is switching from the current project to I/O Error – and I’m just throwing stuff to the wall to see what sticks, so I ask you to bear with me. Here’s the issue: the main characters are robots. How would you scare a robot? There is obviously no fear of death (there’s no fear period) and there is no notion of an Afterlife to concern them. Immediate bodily injury is an issue, but only if they can’t get to the parts, and if something goes so wrong that a whole body must be reconstituted, then you just download the back-up file and off you go. Now, we can take a step back and think of the situation like this (and I may have gone over this in a previous entry, so I must ask you to please doubly bear with me, or get a good, stiff drink): emotions can be looked at as responses to stimuli. You get a raise, you feel happy, because that raise now puts more money in your hands to use as you see fit. Someone cuts you off in traffic and you get angry because either they did not signal their turn, or now you’re going to be late (or in my case, later). Stimulus and Response – the basis for comedy. There are whole schools of philosophical, psychological and theological thoughts about our emotions and how they should be displayed. Let’s take a look at one case that most people here should know: this guy.

Does he have emotions, chips and whatever not entering into the debate? If we take the rather bland definition I have as a standard, then yes – Data is an emotional creature. However, he will protest (in the earlier episodes) that he has no genuine emotions, since for him – emotions come from an understanding of their source. For Data, an emotion is not a Boolean equation, but a shadow cast on Plato’s Cave in a wavelength he can’t perceive. A romantic thought, but unfortunately, I can’t really go along with this interpretation. Not that it doesn’t have a place in science fiction – in fact, the notion of the Outsider is a central plot to fantasy, sci-fi and horror. It all depends on the Outsider’s relation to everyone else and how that becomes the basis of emotion as it’s perceived in others. One person’s Outsider can be a harmless collection of spare parts, and another’s could be a machine sent back through time to try to kill you. I guess that in making the main character in I/O Error, I am making it (her) an Outsider on many levels: an android taking care of humans, with needs being computed and satisfied to balance out some pre-determined equation. A sensate creature put into a realm that challenges her pre-build notion of what is real and what isn’t (Hello, Objectivists!). A member of a crew who defies the chain of command to help a crew that might not appreciate completely what’s going on. I think this one book is going to be better than the one I am trying to finish. Of course, I won’t know until I finish the thing, won’t I?

And on that note, since it is 3 AM here, I am going to bed. I wish all of you a good night (or good morning) as I put an end to the rambling.



Seething Apathy